Orlando Jews Call for Unity With Muslims as Nation Reels From Massacre
Rabbi Steven Engel of the Congregation for Reform Judaism, the largest synagogue in Orlando, and Imam Muhammad Masri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, spoke by phone to plan a joint memorial service for the victims at the Pulse nightclub attack, which was carried out by an American Muslim with roots in Afghanistan.
“(We want) to support each other, to support the whole community,” Masri said outside the bullet-scarred club on a busy Orlando artery.
Like Jewish leaders, Masri emphasized that suspected gunman Omar Mateen was an American who would not have been affected by proposals spearheaded by Donald Trump to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.
“He came from two hours away. You can’t put a border to stop someone like this,” Masri said, adding that he did not consider the gunman to be a Muslim.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders led a chorus of Jewish political, religious and cultural leaders who expressed outrage at gun violence after the mass shooting that killed 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando.
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